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21-06-2022

New: Class Exploitation in Stranger Things: The Continuity of the Reagan and Trump Administration

By Fleur Renkema
In 2016, Netflix released the series Stranger Things, written and directed by the Duffer Brothers. Critics wildly praised the show and it received thirty-one Emmy Award nominations. The setting of the science fiction horror series is a town called Hawkins, Indiana in the year 1983. Besides featuring homages to American horror films from the 1980s like
Alien and E.T., the series also explores the political atmosphere around the Reagan presidency and the Cold War. Because of these references to the past, Stranger Things is often analyzed as a series focused on nostalgia. However, even though the setting of the series may be submerged in nostalgia, the underlining message of the series is not only a look into the past but the future. In fact, the first season of the series builds upon the theme of class exploitation as a continuity from the Reagan to the Trump administration at the time of its release. In this way, Stranger Things creates awareness of the socio-economic conditions of the American class through its broad reach as a popular Netflix show. This is firstly visible through the 1980s setting of the series and its relation to contemporary political culture. Additionally, through the symbolism in the series which represents working class exploitation, and, lastly, through the theory of winner-take-all-politics that illustrates the continuity.

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